Ocean County has received grant funding that will go toward studying replacement options for the wooden bridge which carries Strickland Avenue over a lagoon to Chadwick Island.
Originally built in the 1950s, the Chadwick Beach Island Bridge has served the residents of the island well, providing access from their homes to Route 35, officials said. It even weathered Superstorm Sandy in October 2012.
But age has taken its toll on the timber span and Ocean County will now oversee a study to determine the best course of action for rehabilitating or replacing the bridge located within Toms River Township.
The North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority (NJTPA) Board of Trustees approved $325,000 in federal funds for the study at its March meeting.
“This study is a critical first step in improving the Chadwick Beach Island Bridge,” said Ocean County Freeholder John P. Kelly, a member of the NJTPA Board of Trustees. “This timber bridge is the only way residents and others can get on and off Chadwick Beach Island, and it’s critical that we replace or rehabilitate the structure.”
Funding for the study is provided through the Local Concept Development Phase of the NJTPA’s Fiscal Year 2018 Local Capital Project Delivery Program. The Local Capital Project Delivery Program awards grants to NJTPA member counties and cities to investigate all aspects of a project, including environmental, right of way access, design and feasibility issues.
The NJTPA Board approved a combined $2.76 million for studies in 2018 and FY 2019 at its March 13 meeting in Newark.
Ocean County Freeholder Director Joseph H. Vicari extended his appreciation to the NJTPA for providing the funds for the study.
“Working in concert with other agencies like the NJTPA allows us to advance projects for the betterment of our residents and visitors,” Vicari said.
He noted the Chadwick Beach Island Bridge is used by many bicyclists and pedestrians especially in the summer months.
In 1985, new deck boards, pile caps and railings were installed. The timber bulkheads and load-bearing piles are deteriorating and need to be replaced, official said. Additionally, the bridge’s width and sidewalk do not meet current standards.
“Ocean County maintains more than 250 bridges and culverts,” Kelly noted. “It’s imperative that our infrastructure is up to date and meets current standards.”
According to the NJTPA, Local Concept Development is the first phase of the Local Capital Project Delivery Program, which guides projects from initial concepts all the way to construction.
During the initial phase, the County will identify and compare reasonable alternatives and strategies and select a preferred alternative. Projects that complete this initial investigative work may be eligible for eventual construction with federal funds.